Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Can't Prove It


I watched "Proof" on Friday, and I've watched certain scenes more than once in the last few days. I've actually been thinking a lot about it.

The first time I saw it was about 2 months ago. To be honest, I wasn't greatly impressed. I did like it, but I didn't love it. After I watched it last weekend, though, I decided that there was more to it than met my eye. Besides the solid acting -- I really do believe this is one of Gwyneth Paltrow's best performances -- and a good musical score, and despite a questionable love scene, the movie as a whole was pretty good. The screenplay is brilliant. It's based on a play by John Madden, so you know it's good because dialogue is key on the stage. It's all about a mathematical proof that someone wrote, but no one can prove with absolute certainty who that person was. And the whole movie is filled with scenes about proving things. Gwyneth Paltrow's screen sister* can't prove to her that jojoba makes hair healthy, Gwyneth Paltrow couldn't prove her sanity to her sister, and neither one of them could prove whether or not it was the best thing for their crazy father to live the end of his life at home instead of in a mental institution.

In the end, the "take-home" message for me was that most of life is based on trust. Credibility and trust. We can't see or hear a lot of things that go on. We can't, for example, prove that gravity is a something. Objects falling to the ground is "just evidence," as Paltrow's character would put it; "it doesn't prove anything." And so really what we go on most of the time is other people's testimonies. There is an amazing amount of trust that goes on in the world. Trust that food was prepared correctly at a restaurant, trust that an airplane pilot knows exactly what he's doing, or trust that what somebody is telling you is true. That's why it's so important to get to know one another -- and even then, there's a leap of faith one must take to form a full bond of trust. And I think that's also why faith is so important. It really is necessary in every relationship. The more I think about it, the more I can't understand why more people don't have faith in God, or a god, anyway. Just as much faith is required to believe that the medicine we're getting from a pharmacist is the proper type and dosage and that it won't kill us. If we haven't been schooled in organic chemistry, we wouldn't know the difference.

Putting our trust in the things of this world is inevitable, whether we say it is or not, and faith is a necessary part of that trust.

Hm. Interesting what you can learn from a movie.

*Paltrow's sister was played by Hope Davis, the father by Anthony Hopkins, and the love interest by Jake Gyllenhaal. All four actors in the movie were great, I thought.

Thing I'm thankful for: toasted Wheat Thins, veggie-flavored.

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